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Weekly Update on Spread of COVID-19

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – As of Thursday, April 16, there were still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Houston County. All other contiguous counties to Houston County had reported at least one confirmed case, with Madison County becoming the latest. Widening the area – every county east of I-45 has reported at least one positive test for COVID-19.

 So far, in Houston County, we’ve been very lucky. Unfortunately, our luck may be about to head south.

The Messenger first started tracking the spread of the virus in the East Texas area on Wednesday, March 25. At that time, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (TDHHS) reported there were 13,325 COVID-19 tests which had been administered. The TDHHS further reported 974 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease and 12 deaths in the Lone Star State.

Also on that Wednesday, the TDHHS indicated 82 out of 254 counties in the state of Texas had at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.

Of those counties – as of March 25 – the only county with a confirmed case of the Coronavirus bordering Houston or Anderson County was Walker County. 

In a span of less than 24 hours, the TDHHS reported there were 1,396 cases and 18 deceased. The Thursday, March 26 update from the TDHHS also indicated there were 92 counties with a reported case of COVID-19. Among the 10 new counties were Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties.  

On Friday, March 27, the TDHHS updated the figures to show there had been 23,666 COVID-19 tests administered. Of those tests, 1,731 cases have been confirmed as positive for the virus. The TDHHS update further indicated the Coronavirus has caused 23 deaths in the state of Texas.

Of the 254 Texas counties, on Friday the 27th, the TDHHS also reported 105 now have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Listed among the 13 new counties was Cherokee County, which borders both Houston and Anderson Counties.

Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston announced on Tuesday, March 31 that Anderson County had its first confirmed case of the virus. 

On Thursday, April 2, the TDDHS reported 50,679 COVID-19 tests had been administered. The results showed there were 4,669 cases in Texas, with 70 people reported dead. In addition, 143 of the 254 – or 56 percent – counties in Texas had at least one confirmed case of the Coronavirus.

By Friday, April 3, 55,764 tests had been administered in Texas. Of those tests, 5,330 tested positive. The TDHHS also reported 90 deaths attributed to the Coronavirus. Furthermore, nearly 58 percent of all counties had at least one reported case.

By Thursday, April 9, the TDHHS indicated 106,134 tests had been administered which resulted in 10,230 people testing positive for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive, 1,439 people had been hospitalized.

The April 9 update also reported 12 more people had perished, bringing the total to 199. Also, the TDHHS has reported 170 counties with at least one case of the Coronavirus, or approximately 67 percent of all 254 Texas counties.  

The numbers have continued to grow and as of Thursday, April 16, 158,547 tests had been administered with 16,455 individuals testing positive for the Coronavirus. Of those who tested positive, the TDHHS reports 1,459 people have been hospitalized.

The April 16 update also showed deaths associated with the virus had nearly doubled over the week going from 199 to 393.

Since last week, the number of counties with at least one case has gone from 170 to 191 counties or approximately 75 percent of all 254 Texas counties.   

A new feature on the TDHHS website is a report on hospitals. As of April 9, the TDHHS reported the state of Texas had a total of 50,936 beds. Of the nearly 51,000 beds only 20,488 are available, including 2,248 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. The TDHHS also reported the state of Texas has 6,361 available ventilators.

By April 16, the numbers had increased slightly as the TDHHS reported the state of Texas had a total of 51,760 beds. Of the nearly 52,000 beds only 21,489 are available, including 2,386 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. The TDHHS also reported the state of Texas has 6,828 available ventilators.

According to the TDHHS website there are 24 Trauma Service Areas (TSA) in the state of Texas. Houston and Anderson Counties are located in TSA G.  The 2019 Population Estimate in TSA G was 970,139.

The April 16 numbers showed there are 1,721 total hospital beds in the area with 682 available. Of those 682 beds, there are 84 ICU beds along with 207 available ventilators. Currently, there are 36 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in the area hospitals.  

As you can see, the COVID-19 disease is spreading at an alarming rate in Texas. In a three-week time period – from Wednesday, March 25 until Thursday April 16 – the number of confirmed cases has jumped from 974 to 16,455 – an increase of 15,481 cases.

From Wednesday, March 25 through Thursday, April 16, deaths attributed to COVID-19 have risen from 12 to 393.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), as of April 16 at 10:24 am, across the US there were 649,314 cases of COVID-19 up from 432,596 on April 9.

Last week the number of Coronavirus related deaths stood at 14,831. By Thursday of this week, the death toll stood at 29,254 deaths. The organizations also reported 51,855 patients have recovered. 

Worldwide, there were 2,124,487 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 138,479 deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 533,924 patients have recovered from the disease. 

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.   

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